Stage 13 from Mali to Mauritania was the scene of more upsets and surprises in the Dakar Rally, most notably the surprise winner in the Bike category.

Stage 13 from Mali to Mauritania was the scene of more upsets and surprises in the Dakar Rally, most notably the surprise winner in the Bike category.

It was a very hot, physical and fast stage as the first liaison was a 230km drive on a tarmac road, then onto a series of sandy tracks for the new 478km Special and a final short, 26km liaison to end the stage.

This Special was one that would require the drivers and co-drivers to be at their navigational best, using both the Global Positioning System (GPS) and the rally route book to negotiate the fast tracks with sudden changes in direction.

With lots of drivers losing their way in the twisty sand track, David Fretigne (Yamaha) caused major upset when he won the stage.

"It's fantastic," he said about his stage win. "It's really worthwhile pushing hard. I felt great so I kept on attacking and had fun all along the special. Yesterday evening, I started thinking that it was time to try something and this morning I gave everything."

The Yamaha rider was ahead of the KTM riders, defending champion, Richard Sainct and Joan Roma.

South African motorcyclist, Alfie Cox had another upsetting day.

"The navigation was very difficult today... I just slipped once or twice, which was enough for Cyril (Despres) to make up time and take over the third place in the overall standings."

Cox is currently fourth overall, less than a minute behind Cyril Despres. Roma kept the Bike overall lead ahead of Sainct.

World Rally Driver, Colin McRae took top honours in the Special, followed closely by Nissan teammates Giniel de Villiers and Ari Vatanen to ensure the manufacturer the top podium spots.

Second-placed de Villiers said: "It was a real special stage today, not like yesterday. We stopped twice, because we had radiator problems. Then we got lost twice. There were quite a few parallel paths, which made navigation more difficult."

Josep Maria Serva came home in fourth after the Nissans, followed by Jutta Kleinschmidt.

The Car leader board remains the same. Stephane Peterhansel has the lead over teammate Hiroshi Masuoka and Jean-Louis Schlesser.

Today Stage 14, another marathon stage, will take competitors from Ayoun El Trous back to Tidjikja, on what is probably the most beautiful sand stage of the entire rally.

Original article from Car